Tuesday, September 14, 2010

4.0 Early Levels, Part II

I'm just rolling new classes and giving the first couple levels a whirl on the PTR. These are some impressions.


Uhh, low level hunters are a little insane. Before, Arcane Shot had a 6s cooldown, so you only got one shot off per fight. Now, Arcane Shot costs 25 focus, and you start with 100 focus, so you can pop off 4 Arcane Shots in a row. The new hunter starts with a pet, which is great, but stuff dies before your pet even reaches the mob. Maybe low level Arcane Shot should do a little less damage, so combat lasts longer than 2 GCDs.


Mages are very nice at low levels. You start with Fireball, which is pretty much the essence of magery.

Then at level 3 you get Arcane Missiles. The new Arcane Missiles is a lot of fun. It's now activated (like a proc) by your spells, but it's free. So you Fireball a couple times, and then Arcane Missiles proc and you blast the mob with them. It's lots of fun, and much better than just spamming Fireball.

The proc also shows off Blizzard's new built-in Power Auras. When Arcane Missiles proc, two purple lines appear on your screen to either side of your character. It's very noticeable, and is much better than watching your action bar or buffs.


Warlocks start with the Imp and Shadowbolt. They also start with Demon Armor, but that wasn't on the action bar so I didn't notice it.

The Imp is good, but I don't agree with Shadowbolt. It makes the low level warlock feel too much like a mage. But then again, I'm prejudiced against Shadowbolt. I think the single worst mistake ever made by the WoW Class Dev Team was warlocks at the end of TBC. We started with a pet class with a focus on DoTs and lovely, lovely complexity. Then it was turned into a class that sacrificed the pet and spammed a single nuke.

So yeah, putting Shadowbolt forward as the introductory warlock spell is bad. I would suggest giving level 1 warlocks Drain Life instead. It's very different from mage spells, and is much more appropriate thematically. Warlocks don't just blast you down, they drain the very life from you, healing themselves at your expense.

As well, 4.0 warlocks get Drain Life at level 8, so moving Shadowbolt up to level 8 in its place doesn't really change things in the long run.


Level 1 Warriors are very meh. You start with Attack, which starts auto-attack, and Strike, which is a 20 rage attack. It's better than starting with Heroic Strike, I guess. It takes about two auto-attacks to generate enough rage for a Strike. I found that I was actually pressing the Attack button, just to have another button to press during combat.

But then, at level 3 you get Charge. And the warrior goes from meh to great. Charge, swing, Strike, good times. Charge is just awesome, definitely a contender for best spell in the game.

And at level 5, warriors get Victory Rush and go from great to outright amazing. Victory Rush does a fair chunk of healing and damage. Charge, swing, Strike, Victory Rush the next target, swing, Strike, Charge, Victory Rush, etc. It just flows so beautifully.

Other Observations

I like the low level tooltips on abilities. They're geared to the beginner, and often offer tips on how best to use the ability. For example, Fireblast suggests that you use the spell when you are moving or in melee.

Ranged classes also had their range increased to 40 yards. I'm not sure I really like this. It feels a little too far from the mob. 30-35 yards felt a little better.

As well, from a healing point of view, 35-ish yards was ideal because heals reached 40 yards. The tank was often on the other side of the mob from you. So when ranged stood at 35 yards from the boss, you could stand with them and still reach the tank on the other side. And if mob did that charge the closest range thing, they'd hit the ranged instead of you.

Now with both heals and ranged hitting 40 yards, if the ranged stands at 40 yards, the healers will have to stand closer to reach the tank. That creates some separation meaning that AoE heals will be a little less effective. Not to mention that rather than just having the melee in one place and ranged in another place, we'll now have melee at point 1, healers at point 2, and ranged dps at point 3. As well, healers will soak random mechanics that target the nearest range. Or that any effect which causes the ranged to run will probably cause the healers to have to run farther or in different directions.


  1. I'm not sure I agree with giving Warlocks Drain Life at level 1 instead of Shadowbolt. While I agree that thematically, Drain Life is more appropriate, it would just feel kinda odd to give Warlocks a channeled ability as their first introduction to the class/game. Generally speaking, channeled abilities—as well as DoTs—feel a bit less fun (at least, in the context of an introduction) than their casted counterparts because they take the big payoff moment that casted spells have and dilute it over a longer period of time so it ends up less exciting.

    So since Warlocks already start off with a pet, DoTs aren't spammable, and channeled spells seem somewhat less appealing than their casted counterparts, Shadowbolt seems like the best choice.

  2. I haven't even begun to try out the other classes. Been too buys trying to figure out how to hold aggro on my warrior. My druid can heal just fine but I can't spam swipe anymore so on multi-mobs I can't keep aggro...

    Loving the changes to my hunter tho.

  3. *bonks*

    Don't you dare say anything about nerfing hunters more! >.> Those "changes" at low levels effect how they work at higher levels as well, and just because you're having an easy time of it now (I wager you've been lucky and haven't ended up with multiple hostiles hitting you in the face while you try to flee), doesn't mean you will be indefinitely.

    Why aren't you using steady shot? Arcane/Steady/neverending focus victory. (Heck, you can usually manage an AS/AS/SS to pull next mob/AS, repeat to basically pull forever.)

  4. "we'll now have melee at point 1, healers at point 2, and ranged dps at point 3."

    I'm not sure I agree. There have always been different spell ranges and I've never had a problem with the "groups" of players standing in three different zones. If ranged are supposed to be at range, generally anyone who is ranged is standing close together (unless the specific encounter calls for distance, like KT).

  5. I'd love to hear your opinion of low level tankng and/or dungeons. My experience on the PTR with both warrior and paladin was awful. It's so difficult to hold aggro with nothing but CS and Judgement. Combine that with DPS with ridiculosly overpowered abilities and it's a formula for disaster. What's your opinion, though? What might be changed to remedy the situation?

  6. Totally agree with you on the warlock comments. S-bolt spam is one of the reasons I decided to stop playing my lock. The dots started feeling like some "thing I had to hurry up and do" so I could get back to spamming shadow bolts. How come locks are given the imp instead of the VW?

  7. Rohan, I tried to armory your paladin today and I can't find him. Did you name change?

  8. @bonoes: you can't spam swipe just at the lower levels? or is that something that is happening for feral tanks overall?

  9. Never mind! Found ya on the new server :P

  10. Holy Moly, my guild has jumped servers to Gorgonnash, and then someone took my name. But I've got it freed up so I'm going to name change back shortly.

    Right now, it's Coriah of Gorgonnash. Not sure if it's available on the Armory yet.